A close associate of mine kindly agreed to write a guest column after seeing Toy Story 3 this morning.
Cole (age 10):
I saw “Toy Story 3.” It was a great movie, though there were some scenes that, surprisingly, could be a little intense for very young children (such as a giant baby doll that looks like a plastic zombie.) But overall it was a very good movie up to Pixar’s high standard. It was very funny. It had all the same characters as the first two, plus a cast of new ones. Among my favorite newbies was ‘Mr. Pricklepants’ a stuffed hedgehog with a taste for theater and drama. It was one of my favorite Pixar films just because of its pure classicalness and a stick-to-it plot.
In the early 1990’s, an animation student at the California Institute of the Arts dropped out of school.
So he was a failure, right?
Next, he landed a job at Walt Disney Animation Studios—and got fired from it. (His quirky sense of humor led him to spend his last day of work posing as a washroom attendant at the door of the men’s room, offering co-workers a selection of soaps and towels, never breaking character.)
So then he was really a failure, right?
He did design work for a Warner Bros. animated feature film that flopped at the box office. He went on to finance and co-write The Trouble With Lou (2001), a black-and-white, live-action feature film about a young man’s problem with … ummm … onanism. It quickly vanished into obscurity.
Then he was really, really a failure, right?
Actually, no. After he impressed Brad Bird with his work on that Warner Bros. film, The Iron Giant (which has since found a loyal following), Bird brought him to Pixar to work on The Incredibles. Since then, he’s also done character designs for Ratatouille and Presto. And this weekend, his short Day & Night will almost certainly be the most-watched film in multiplexes across America, together with Toy Story 3.
Readers of The Pixar Touch know that all of the leading lights of Pixar’s founding—Steve Jobs, Ed Catmull, Alvy Ray Smith, John Lasseter—had been let go from their jobs at one time or another. They’d all had what Walt Disney described as an important ingredient of his own success: “a good hard failure when you’re young.” Teddy Newton is only the latest figure in Pixar’s story to exemplify that “a good hard failure” isn’t the end of the journey.